Ferry Street Resource Center returns to neighborhood

Published 6:30 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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NILES — A local nonprofit that lost its home when the historic Ferry Street School was destroyed in a fire three months ago has found a new temporary space in a familiar place.

The Ferry Street Resource Center, which assists area residents in securing resources and to provide educational and life-enrichment programs and activities, has found a new temporary home at 317 N. 7th St. – across the street from the site of Ferry Street School – to continue its goal of bridging existing educational, cultural and societal gaps that exist within the community.

Pawloski said office hours will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. FSRC can be reached by phone at (269) 687-9860. The organization had been working out of the basement of the Niles District Library since mid May.

“We probably had 30 people-plus on Monday. Yesterday we had 21,” said FSRC Director Ric Pawloski. “This actually worked out quite well, it’s comfortable. At the library, we had to pack up and unpack. Here, we can just be settled and do our work.”

FSRC Director Ric Pawloski said he had discussions with the City of Niles and the property’s landlord about purchasing the home to be used as transitional housing before the tragic fire that destroyed Ferry Street School. After the fire, FSRC was able to reach an agreement with the landlord to bring the organization back to the neighborhood it calls home. The home is currently configured into three apartments, with FSRC using the space on the first floor to carry out work. The space features a waiting area, office space, kitchen space and a meeting room to talk to clients.

Pawloski said the two upstairs apartments will be used for transitional housing until FSRC finds a permanent location. FSRC is in the process of raising funds to purchase the home and use it for transitional housing.

“It’s all starting to come together but there’s still a long way to go,” he said.

Pawloski said he is close to having a permanent home for FSRC and is continuing to work with the Historic District Commission and others to try to determine what the next steps are for the site of Ferry Street School.

“It was not a good day when the building burned,” he said. “But there have been a lot of blessings that have occurred since and so I’m still trying to figure out what to do there.”